It’s almost Halloween and what better time than to pay a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London? I visited the Harry Potter Studios in Watford, London in December. And it was a huge hassle to get there (which I did not know in advance). These are all the things I wish I’d known before going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.
Everything you need to know about the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
Buy your tickets well in advance to assure you get to go on the date and time that you want. Obviously, this is a very popular attraction, and so the tickets sell out pretty quickly. I booked my tickets three months in advance! They don’t sell tickets at the door so don’t expect to be able to just go there and walk in.
When booking the tickets, you have to select a time slot. Try to get a slot as early as possible – once you’re inside, there’s no time limit.
The Harry Potter Studios are located just outside of London’s city centre. If you have a car, I would definitely recommend driving there. You can, however, also get there by train. There are two trains to Watford Junction: an express train and a local train. Make sure you get onto the express train – that one will get you there in about 20 minutes. The local train will take an hour. Especially if you’re running late (or just don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of time on the train), you don’t want to sit in the train that stops every few minutes.
From Watford Junction station, you can take a shuttle bus (impossible to miss). These buses run every 20 minutes, and it’s about a 15-minute drive to the studios. A return ticket costs £2.50 and has to be paid in cash.
Make sure you arrive at the studios at least 20 minutes before your scheduled time. It can get really busy. And if it’s not, you can kill time in the cafeteria or the gift shop.
You have to go through a small security checkpoint before entering the building, and then you can queue up with all the other visitors. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds, because you can admire the tiny room under the staircase where Harry used to sleep. Once you enter the tour, you’ll be escorted into a theatre where you watch a brief film before going into another room to watch another quick film. After that film, you’ll see the front doors of Hogwarts. This is where the tour really begins.
What to expect once you’re inside
Magic. Pure magic.
Let your inner Harry Potter fangirl/fanboy go crazy. There’s no time limit for how long you spend on the tour. Look at all the tiny details, read every plaque. Bring out your inner Hermione and answer questions asked by the people who work there. Go all the way to the end and then turn back to the beginning to see everything again.
About halfway through the tour, there’s a cafeteria where they sell butterbeer. Personally, I thought it was a bit too sweet. But it’s definitely something everyone should try at least once. And what better time than while surrounded by hundreds of magical objects?
Bring a fixed amount of money and no credit cards
I wish I’d done this when I visited. After seeing the tour, I went a bit crazy in the gift shop and spent way too much money there. While I managed to stop myself from buying a giant Niffler, I did buy a Pygmy Puff and was very tempted by —. If you don’t have a card with you, this stops you from buying everything.
I said it in my post when I first visited the studios and I’ll say it again: I highly recommend the Harry Potter Studio Tour for both fans and people who are visiting London and looking for something fun to do. It’s great for families and solo travellers alike. A truly unforgettable experience and one that I can’t wait to have again.